Those Who Know Better Must Put Their Knowledge Where It Will Serve the Greater Good


I was watching a video by Sister Cristina Scuccia and someone left a question below that I’d like to answer where others can see it. They asked, “Why doesn’t the Pope excommunicate her?”

I thought, “How sad that we live in a world where people who claim to be in search of holiness spend time and energy looking to punish those who are different from how they perceive they ought to be.”

This comment is a request for a juridical sentence against a sister who has broken no Church law. She’s simply doing something that some people say nuns shouldn’t do.

Let’s take that in little pieces, because there is a lot of confusion out there about women religious. A nun is a woman religious who lives in a monastery. She rarely leaves the monastery. Her life is about prayer, work and community, all of which takes place in one house and its surrounding property.

A SISTER IS NOT A NUN. A sister, like a nun, makes vows of obedience, poverty and chastity. However, the Church has erected congregations of sisters to live and work in the world. The Church expects them to navigate the world of sin and holiness. They are to take what is good and beautiful in the world and make it better and they are to take what is sinful in the world and transform it, to the best of their abilities, out of love for God. They are to use every gift that God gives them, be it the ability to teach, nurse, do social work, do scientific research, work as administrators, sing, paint, or speak in front of a TV camera.

To be excommunicated you must commit a crime against Church law. The crime must be against the faith, against morals or against a discipline in the Church. Singing on stage is not a crime in the Catholic Church. It is not immoral. It is not against any discipline in the Church and it certainly is not contrary to any article of revealed faith. As far as being in the near occasion of sin, the Church does not consider this any different from any other situation where one has to navigate dangerous waters.

In addition, Canon Law grants religious superiors the power to authorize this kind of activity. If one notices very carefully, one will see two things. First, Sister Cristina is never alone. The major superior of her congregation and the superior of the house in which she lives are at every performance. Second, Sister is always in a habit. What people don’t know is that Mother Superior made a deal with the organization that runs the Voice of Italy. Sister Cristina is only allowed to be absent from her duties for two rehearsals per week and never alone without another sister. J-Ax, her coach agreed to this. He also asked Mother Superior if Mother would allow Sister to teach him about the spiritual life, because he has many questions that he believes Sister can answer. I did not dream this. This was in an interview that he did.

I know for myself that I don’t always know best. I simply walk out into the night holding the Lord’s hand not knowing where he leads. Those of us who are superiors must often walk in the dark holding on the Christ’s hand as we go about the business of leading and serving our brothers and sisters.

I often see too many people out there who want to tell religious what to do, how to do it and what not to do. They seem to know best. But I often ask myself the question, “If they know best how to live religious life, why am I on the inside and they’re on the outside? Shouldn’t they be in religious life putting their knowledge at the service of the Church?”

Published in: on June 24, 2014 at 3:13 AM  Leave a Comment  

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